Does trazodone help with irritability? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss the effects of trazodone for the treatment of irritation. We will discuss whether trazodone is an effective medication to cure irritation or agitation or not. Furthermore, we will look at some factors that are commonly associated with irritation among patients. 

Does trazodone help with irritability? 

Trazodone may help with irritability. Trazodone is an FDA-approved antidepressant for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Trazodone is not primarily prescribed for the treatment of irritability. 

Trazodone belongs to the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor antidepressant drug class. It is an approved medication for anxiety, depression, and other related psychotherapies (1).  

However, trazodone is sometimes prescribed off-label for the treatment of mood-related symptoms. Its serotonin-modulating effects may contribute to improving the mood and well-being of patients while potentially helping with irritability and anxiety in some patients. 

If you are experiencing irritability and mood-related symptoms, it is essential to discuss them with your healthcare provider. They may evaluate and assess your health condition and provide you with the most appropriate treatment approach. 

How does trazodone relieve irritability symptoms? 

Trazodone may help relieve symptoms of agitation or irritability due to its mechanism of action. It is generally considered a safe antidepressant and does not mess up with patients and their relative symptoms regarding the treatment of depression or anxiety. 

Trazodone exerts its action by inhibiting both serotonin transporters leading to increased levels of serotonin in the brain and blocking type-2 serotonin receptors through which it induces antidepressant activity (1).

Due to this combined action of increasing serotonin levels and modulating its activity, trazodone exerts its mood-enhancing properties. This action also helps in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and irritability in patients (1). 

What does research suggest?

Based on a research study, trazodone at a dose of 25mg t.i.d was administered to 13 patients with Alzheimer’s disease for a 10-day pilot study. These patients were suffering from anxiety, restlessness, and irritability (2). 

The behavioral and effective disturbances of these patients were observed after completion of the study in which irritability, anxiety, and restlessness were all reduced (2). 

However, the results of this study concluded that trazodone can help correct behavioral and other psychiatric disturbances in patients such as irritability and agitation. Trazodone exerts these effects due to serotonin depletion in the brain (2).  

What are the potential factors that may cause irritability?

Following are some potential factors that may induce irritability and agitation due to trazodone in some patients:

  • Stress and sleep disturbances- Due to the lack of sleep and stress management, many people can suffer from irritation and agitation due to the disturbances in their regular sleep-wake cycles. 


  • Hormonal imbalance- Due to the fluctuations in hormonal levels, your mood can be affected which leads to irritation and agility. 


  • Drug interactions- Taking various drugs concomitantly may alter your metabolism and it can affect your mood causing irritability and agitation. 


  • Underlying conditions- Certain underlying or pre-existing health conditions can influence mood and lead to irritation. 


  • Individual patient variation- Each patient responds differently to various medications. Some patients are more prone to agility and irritation and are quickly irritated. 

What are the ways to manage irritability while taking trazodone?

If you are taking trazodone and it does not help in relieving symptoms related to agitation and irritability, then consult your doctor and discuss your health issues. 

You must strictly stick to the prescription provided by your doctor and make sure you are taking the right dosage of trazodone at the right time. You must also ensure that trazodone is not expired otherwise, it may not be effective and can have serious complications. 

Your doctor might reduce the dose of trazodone to ensure that the symptoms of irritability are exacerbated by the dosage of trazodone or not. Sometimes trazodone can also cause irritation and agility in some patients.

If the irritation still persists, then your doctor might consider changing the antidepressant medication to another drug to ensure safe, efficient, and timely treatment of irritability and agitation. 

In my opinion, trazodone is a safe antidepressant among others. It may not cause severe complications and can help relieve mild irritability. However, if your symptoms do not start reducing over 2-4 weeks, then you must seek medical help and go for a drug switch to a more efficient medication. 

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Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2022 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Lebert F, Pasquier F, Petit H. Behavioral effects of trazodone in Alzheimer’s disease. J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Dec;55(12):536-8. PMID: 7814348.

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